Thursday, October 27, 2011

And so it continues....

Apologies if my last post seemed a bit downbeat - I think that Clergy (and perhaps all Church members) find that we are holding at least two attitudes towards the Church and the Mission of the Church that we undertake within the Missio Dei, the Mission of God. 

The first attitude is to say that God's Mission carries on, with or without the involvement of any structures or institution we call 'Church'.  My constant prayer is that individual Christians are seeking to make a difference in their own lives and in the lives of others through faithfully seeking and serving our living God.  In this attitude we can see hope, even in the life of the Church, when there are moments when God is obviously present and inspiring the worship, evangelism, heart and soul of Christians and Church fellowships.

The second attitude is slightly less positiveWe can despair at the lack of involvement and engagement so many Christians have firstly with their own faith, and secondly with the world around.  You may not have noticed, particularly as I have blogged so infrequently over the last year, that I rarely if ever mention world events!  I haven't talked about earthquakes and dictators or wars or rumours of war or celebrities or any of the things that many others engage with both on a trivial and a deeply reflective level much better than I ever could.  I'm not talking about that kind of engagement with the world - I do that, I don't blog about it, but I talk, pray and act in any way that I can.  What I am concerned about is that there are so many people who you wouldn't know where Christian if you met them anywhere other than a Sunday service.  They detach from any activity beyond an hour on a Sunday Morning, and see, to involve neither heart nor mind in their faith and seem reluctant to involve their faith in their everyday life.

I see people who are active in Mission, Ministry, Service, Evangelism and the life of the body of Christ, and yet weighed down by attitudes within the Church communities which want to stay the same as it used to be thirty, forty, fifty years ago.  I see young families who don't feel they can be part of a Church because when they came someone tore them off a strip because their children made a noise (there's the death knell of the church right there if such attitudes prevail).  I see people who are happy for their parish church to be busy and active but won't travel a couple of miles down the road to be involved in a shared service, not realising that unless we work together more in parishes then all of the Churches, including the one they are so attached to, then all of them will end up closed!

Church of the future coming in to land?
So we hold in tension a desire to move the Church and the individuals within it on to a fuller expression of our life together in Christ and a desire to work with what we have!  Those of us who long for a future for 'the Church' - or at least for our expression of Church, because I have no doubt that God will always make sure there is a form of Church appropriate for the age - know that we need to change and grow and move.  But it can be disheartening when others don't. or it seems sometimes won't, see that need to go beyond their currently cosy and comfortable clique.

Having said that, our Big Bible Week turned out to be an encouraging series of events.  Which I may actually get around to say more of later!

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